When it comes to aging, says elder law attorney Victor J. Medina, there’s both good news and bad news.

The good news is that thanks to healthier lifestyles and the miracles of modern medicine, we are living much longer than at any time in our history. In fact, the average lifespan has increased by nearly one-third just since 1930.

However, while we are living longer, we are often outliving our money and outliving our own ability to care for ourselves, physically and mentally. We live long enough to become a burden — financial, psychological, even physical — on those we love.

“I’ve put together thousands of estate and asset protection plans for people, and most people want to stay at home until their last day, surrounded by people they love,” says Medina. “Regrettably, that’s becoming increasingly rare. Most now finish their lives in an assisted living facility or a nursing home, whether they would have chosen that or not.”

Because most wanted to avoid a long-term facility, they failed to plan for that circumstance, and they are left scrambling for how to pay those high long-term care costs, Medina explains.

And a lot of those same people are under the misapprehension that their long-term care costs will be covered by Medicare. Unfortunately, they are in for a nasty surprise.

While Medicare covers all or most of the acute care costs for seniors over 65, such as for hospital stays and doctor’s visits, coverage for long-term care costs is extremely limited. Once you need regular help at home, or an assisted living facility or a nursing home, you are on your own as to how to pay for that.

Without proper, and proactive, legal planning, you could lose everything over $2,000 before any government help steps in. With a disease like Alzheimer’s, a disease affecting more than five million Americans in 2015, the length of time you might need to pay for care could be 10 years or more — as it was for President Ronald Reagan.

Given that the average nursing home in New Jersey costs almost $120,000 for one year, most families would be bankrupted by what it would cost to pay for 10 years of care.

Medina said, “money that seniors have worked all their lives to save, and hope to pass on to their children and grandchildren, can vanish in a matter of months.”

“Fortunately, there are legal and financial strategies that can prevent such disasters,” explains Medina, “but the families that start before there is a health crisis save more than those that come in too late.”

Even if you have an existing estate plan, you might benefit from having your situation reviewed by an experienced elder law attorney.

“There are actions we can take to protect families from financial stress and preserve inheritances — and because our focus is elder law, we can concentrate on those strategies that help families avoid catastrophe,” Medina says.

Victor Medina is an elder law and estate planning attorney, and the founder of the Medina Law Group, a law firm dedicated exclusively to serving seniors and their loved ones.

To learn if you qualify for a complimentary comprehensive consultation on your family’s situation, please call 609-818-0068. You will be treated with compassion and understanding. You may also visit our website www.medinalawgroup.com to watch videos and learn more.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, National Vital Statistics Reports. Web:www.cdc.gov/nchs.

Read more: Life Expectancy at Birth by Race and Sex, 1930–2010 | Infoplease.com http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005148.html#ixzz3Iamhobcx

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